The College of West Anglia

Computing is changing our world, the way we work and the way we live. To study computer science is to put yourself at the forefront of both technological and social change. This course examines the principles and technologies underpinning the systems that are driving this change.

Website Design

The number of websites on the worldwide web has increased dramatically and competition is very high. This means that designers must use increasingly sophisticated techniques to capture interest, as well as ensuring that an appropriate company image is presented. Usability issues, such as navigation methods, must be considered carefully. A poorly-designed structure could result in users becoming confused or frustrated and navigating away from the website.

The need for good web designers and developers continues to grow as more and more companies realise they must develop a web presence and keep it maintained and updated. This unit starts by exploring web architecture and the factors that influence website performance. Learners investigate the web development process from identification of need, design, build, and test through to review.

Software Engineering

To develop a programmed software solution, which meets business and user needs, it is necessary to understand the problem and be very clear in terms of the user requirements. Issues are often caused by poor understanding of user need as well as poor planning. A wide range of different development programming languages and paradigms are available to developers with quite different characteristics and features.

Learners will build an appreciation of why different high-level languages are available and why they are chosen in particular situations. There is a focus on the design and development process, for learners to start incorporating the systems development lifecycle, and it would be an appropriate place to start looking at programming concepts before they undertake more focused programming language units.

We also examine the business context within which solutions can be developed and explore the tools that can be used to demonstrate software designs. A major part of learners' time will be spent on familiarising themselves with fundamental software development processes and concepts. This gives a firm foundation to move onto the more focused programming units.

Networking

Our computing courses explore the different types of networks and the standards relating to network systems, including local and wide area networks. Networks can be either wired or wireless systems and, although much of the underpinning content is similar, our courses explore both.

The hardware and software components used in networks and their operation are explored and learners will develop an understanding of their functions and how they relate to each other, particularly how connections are made and the purpose of these connection devices. As users of networks, we work with them mostly through the services that they provide, from simple services such as file sharing and communications to more complex services involving security and account management. Learners will explore and use the different services available.

For networks to be suitable they must be secure and networks distributed across several physical locations, perhaps via a WAN, makes the ensuring of security a complex business. Learners will be exploring the technologies used to create secure systems and putting security procedures and devices in place to secure a networked system. Learners will come to understand the risks to businesses from insecure networks.

Games Design

To produce a successful game requires a wide variety of skills and knowledge as well as passion and commitment. Development of the game is the role of the Studio team, and includes, designers, artists, modellers, programmers and testers. In order to develop an understanding of these roles you will develop the underlying skills and knowledge in the first year of the course, and apply this in a development oriented environment in the second year.

  Digital Graphics  

Anyone considering a career in the computer games industry needs to be aware of the various disciplines and skills relevant to the industry which may be outside their own particular interest or career goals. For example, anyone involved in computer games development must be familiar with the creation of digital images, digital graphics being the basis on which computer games are sold. The creation of digital graphics is relevant to all aspects of design and these skills are highly sought after in the games industry. Those who aspire to work in this industry should therefore gain basic practical experience in the production and development of digital graphics for use in computer games in order to communicate ideas or develop a specialism.

Learners will become familiar with the basic tools and techniques of the digital graphics software used to produce images for computer games. These techniques form the basis of the development of graphics for game poster production, game packaging, in-game graphics such as head up display graphics, sprite graphics, background graphics, image textures and concept art graphics – in short for all print and screen graphics for computer games.

The digital graphics process includes enhancing or transforming digitally captured images by means of specialist image editing software. Through following this unit learners will develop skills in using digital imaging software by producing digitally manipulated visual material. Learners will also have opportunities to experiment with graphic styles used to set mood and theme in computer game products.

 
  Game Development  

In this course, you will gain experience of the tools and techniques used in developing games for a variety of platforms. This will include using software such as Gimp/Photoshop and Blender/Maya to develop 2D and 3D assets. You will also learn to analyse and critique existing games, digital and film media products in order to understand what makes products interactive and exciting for users. Finally you will use these skills as well as scripting and Flash development to produce individual interactive games and cut scenes. You will be expected to produce static and animated assets for use in cut scenes and game levels. Flash, Blueprints, Kismet and GML will be used to script the gameplay you design, combined with level and map skills using Game Maker, and Unreal Development Environments (UDK and UE4) to produce functional 2D and 3D games within a team environment. Students who wish to progress after the course may use these assets to produce a final show reel for job or university applications. These areas will also be supported by work including presentation, communication and working in the games industry to provide you with a rounded experience of how commercial games and digital media produce are specified and developed.

 
 

3D modelling is the art of creating characters and objects for 3D models, including life forms, scenery, vegetation, furniture, and vehicles. It is created by means of 3D computer application software. 3D modellers are sometimes also responsible for applying textures to objects, characters, models and items, such as the surfaces of walls and floors of buildings. This is highly skilled work which requires considerable knowledge of lighting, perspective, materials, and visual effects. Specialist software packages are used to create the models and modellers must portray the models as realistically as possible in an efficient and effective way, making the most appropriate use of the technology. Learners will have the opportunity to use a 3D modelling software application to produce 3D models for a scene. 3D modelling concepts are complex and learners are encouraged to research the use of 3D modelling within the interactive media industry. Learners will develop an awareness of how rendered 3D models are displayed on a computer screen. An appreciation of the geometric theory underlying 3D work will help learners understand the technical language used by modellers. Learners will have the opportunity to devise and develop original ideas through interpreting creative briefs and considering potential target audiences. They will develop skills in drafting pre-visualisation sketches and storyboards. Developing these planning skills will form a habit of preparation and workflow management which will be valuable to any entrant to the interactive media industry. Learners will develop practical computer modelling skills and create 3D models using a range of techniques, including box and extrusion modelling and rendering.

   

Success Story

Aleasha Fox

Computing - Level 3 and BSc (Hons) Computer Science

Aleasha previously studied at Spalding High School and decided to attend the College of West Anglia as she had heard good reviews about the college. She also felt that CWA offered a better learning environment than sixth form and offered a wider range of subjects.

She studied the level 3 in computing and said: “I enjoy the design aspects of the course the most, such as web design. I would say to anyone thinking about applying to CWA that if you want to learn then CWA is the place to go.”

She is now studying the BSc (Hons) Computer Science at University Centre West Anglia, having enjoyed her experience and aims to work in software engineering.